Veterans of the nation’s previous wars should know within the next few months if they will be made eligible for the Combat Action Badge -- a Post-9/11 Army medal recognizing non-infantry soldiers who engage in combat.
"The Department [of Defense] is nearing completion of the Military Decorations and Awards Review and will soon be presenting final recommendations to the Secretary,” Pentagon spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen said. “We anticipate the department will make announcements of the results of the review later this summer."
Combat Action Badge eligibility is part of an overall review of the military awards system ordered in March 2014 by then-Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. Hagel’s directive was partly influenced by the 12-year investigation that culminated in 2014 with the upgrading of 24 Distinguished Service Crosses to the Medal of Honor.
But in December Congress ordered the Pentagon to consider in the review extending eligibility for the CAB to Dec. 7, 1941, when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and the U.S. entered World War II. Both the Veterans of Foreign Wars and The American Legion have adopted national resolutions backing the extension to World War II.
Congress established the CAB in 2005, recognizing that many non-infantry troops, both men and women, in various support roles, were coming under fire and engaging the enemy in Iraq and Afghanistan. The CAB may also be awarded to members of other service branches if they engage in combat while assigned to an Army unit.
Infantry soldiers are eligible for the Combat Infantryman’s Badge and medical corpsmen are eligible for the Combat Medical Badge -- both of which came out of World War II. Infantry soldiers and medics are not eligible for the CAB.
-- Bryant Jordan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org